Writing here in The Irish Times
Pat McGovern is a chartered building surveyor and member of the
Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland.
Creaking or squeaking floorboards are usually the result of loose boards and when walked upon they creak. The board may rub off another, a fixing nail or joist. There are many reasons for a loose floorboard, but the main ones are use of incorrect nails or nails too far apart due to inadequate nailing. The solution here is to screw-fix the board to the joists to secure the boards. You cannot introduce nails or it will do further damage to ceilings etc.
The screws should be fixed at 400mm centres in both directions and consideration should be given to countersinking the screw head into the floor board. At all times check for pipes or cables before screwing.
Another cause may be an unsupported end joint between floorboards. To resolve this the floorboard falling short of a support must be lifted and an extension added to the joist to support the board end. As this will involve cutting the tongue of the board to be removed it is not a simple DIY job but one for an experienced carpenter.
If this simple approach does not work, you need to investigate further.
Other considerations include problems with the joists supporting the boards. These may have twisted due to shrinkage or poor workmanship during construction. They may also be undersized for the floor span and result in sagging of the floor joist. This can lead to movement between the board and joist resulting in creaking. There may be a need to add additional bridging pieces at regular intervals across the floor to strengthen it. However, this is a big job involving lifting of the floorboards.
It is also worth checking the joists to see if an overzealous plumber or electrician has drilled excessive holes in the joist to facilitate a plumbing pipe or cable resulting in a weakening of the joist. Joists should also be fixed solidly at either end of the span on to the wall or a joist hanger and spaced at 400mm centres usually.
One last thing to consider is expanding heating pipes which expand and move slightly when they warm up which may cause the floorboard to make noise if it rubs off a heating pipe. A droll carpenter suggested to me the use of talcum powder, while I’ve no doubt would work for a short time, but it is not a long-term solution.
Caden Grimes Estates is licensed Estate Agent, PSRA Nr 001883
At least one lender is willing to consider applications – but with conditions –
Dominic Coyle had an interesting article in the Irish Times this week –
Last week, we had a letter from a woman who was checking to see if there was any way she, who has never owned a property, could avail of first-time buyer status given that her husband had previously owned an apartment.
I said confidently that, as a married couple, all lenders would assess them jointly and therefore his previous property ownership would disbar her – even though she had the earnings and savings to qualify for the required mortgage on her own.
Since then, I have had a couple of emails from financial advisers alerting me that the situation is no longer as cut and dried. Belinda McCauley, mortgage manager at Money Plus, which is based in Sligo but has a Dublin office, and Andriú Mac Lochlainn, a regional head of financial planning at Murray & Spelman, which has offices in Naas and in Galway, both tell me that at least one lender is prepared to consider such cases.
It apparently does consider applications from lenders in the reader, Ms P.O’F.’s, position although both advisers warn that the criteria for acceptance are quite restrictive.
Apparently, they will insist that the applying spouse is not only financially independent but that they are able to carry their spouse as a dependent when affordability is considered. I’m conscious that, in Ms P. O’F’s, case, her husband is also financially independent – and apparently this is also likely to be a requirement – but it appears that, for the purpose of assessing the affordability of this mortgage that might not be taken into consideration.
The applicant will similarly have to demonstrate that they have the financial muscle to provide for any dependent children.
Not surprisingly, if a mortgage was secured, the property would have to be registered solely in the name of the borrower, not both spouses. If all that pans out, then I am told that the borrowing spouse could avail of first-time buyer status.
As you can see, the conditions are pretty onerous but, in a world where no other lender appears even to consider such loans, it is at least an option and one that people in our reader’s position might like to consider.
Please send your queries to Dominic Coyle, Q&A, The Irish Times, 24-28 Tara Street, Dublin 2, or email email@example.com. This column is a reader service and is not intended to replace professional advice.
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